Patsí Jerod Mayo could miss rest of season after pectoral surgery
The two-time Pro Bowler made an early exit in Sunday’s come-from-behind victory over the New Orleans Saints after suffering the injury in the fourth quarter. Even then, Mayo seemed to know he was badly injured and was visibly frustrated as he flung his helmet towards the sidelines while heading off to the locker room. Mayo did not return in the game and was seen leaving Gillette Stadium with his arm in a sling.
Although Mayo mostly plays weakside linebacker, he has a much bigger role in the in the Patriots’ defense. Mayo’s not only proven to be an effective pass rusher he’s also the Patriots’ defensive captain, an every-down player and the only linebacker capable of hanging back with the running backs and tight ends in coverage.
It is another devastating blow to the much-improved Patriots defense this season, which is already missing defensive tackle Vince Wilfork. The 10-year veteran suffered a season-ending Achilles injury two weeks ago. It won’t be easy for the Patriots to replace Mayo’s leadership skills and production in tackles since he leads the team with 55 tackles. Mayo also has 1.5 sacks so far this season.
“I think Jerod has great versatility. That’s what makes him such a good linebacker,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said on Monday. “He’s good in the running game and very instinctive. He’s a good tackler and he can run. He’s athletic and can play in pass coverage. He’s a very good pass defender as well.”
With Mayo down, 2013 top draft pick Jamie Collins may be asked to fill some of the void along with four-year veteran Dane Fletcher. Even though rookie Steve Beauharnais is listed behind Mayo on the team’s depth chart, the seventh-rounder has not played a game so far this season. Look for both strongside linebacker Dont’a Hightower and for Brandon Spikes in the middle to be pressed into additional service as well.
Sunday’s last-minute victory was a costly one for the Patriots as they lost several other players besides Mayo due to injuries during the course of the game. Both wide receiver Danny Amendola and guard Dan Connolly suffered head injuries, while cornerback Aqib Talib left in the third quarter after suffering a hip injury.